Hamilton eligible to apply for new provincial, federal transit funding stream

Hamilton is one of 11 municipalities eligible for funding for transit infrastructure. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

Hamilton’s transit system could get a significant financial boost from a new stream of provincial and federal funding.

The Ontario government is now accepting applications from 11 municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for a share of $12.45 billion for new transit projects through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s public transit stream.

Dennis Guy, manager of customer service and innovation with the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR), said he jumped about as high as a bus when he learned of the funding.

“Our sights are firmly set on our 10-year strategy, and if this is some capital funding that can help us move that along then we’ll go as far as we can with it,” said Guy while speaking with guest host Rick Zamperin on Global News Radio 900 CHML’s Bill Kelly Show.

The funding is intended for transit infrastructure, and Guy said the first priority would be building a new maintenance and bus storage facility, followed by additional buses, technological advancements to improve rider experience and integrated mobility solutions to make it easier for transit riders to get to and from the beginning and end of their transit routes.

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He adds that, because the funding has only just been announced, it’s not yet clear how much Hamilton would ask for, but whatever funding it might receive would have a major impact on the city’s 10-year transit strategy.

“In presenting the 10-year plan, it’s this capital piece that we’re still looking for funding for,” said Guy. “So maybe I jumped as high as two buses to know that this funding is for capital projects and could ideally fund the remaining capital requirement of the 10-year plan.”

The news comes as the HSR is looking for input through its public engagement survey, called Help Us (Re)envision the HSR.

READ MORE: HSR partners with McMaster University to ‘re-envision’ Hamilton transit system

“Through that, we’re trying to learn what is it that people want out of the system — where do they want to go, when do they want to go there — to see how we should be adapting our network to these changing needs. Because the needs have changed quite rapidly in the last five to 10 years, and even over the last few decades,” Guy said.

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The application process will close on Oct. 24.

Along with Hamilton, other municipalities that are eligible for the funding include Burlington, Brampton, Durham Region, Halton Hills, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, Toronto and York Region.

READ MORE: Riders can now get free Wi-Fi on some HSR buses

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